The State of Michigan has awarded $500,000 to the winners of the Great Lakes Invasive Carp Challenge, which sought solutions to the incursion of Asian Carp into the Great Lakes.

Last week, Edem Tsikata, a software consultant at Ab Initio Software LLC in Lexington, Massachusetts, was selected as the grand prize winner at the Carp Tank competition held earlier today at the Port Authority in Detroit.

Tsikata’s Cavitation Barrier to Deter Asian Carp would utilize a row of specially designed propellers to generate a wall of cavitation bubbles that implode and emit high-speed jets of water. The painful sensation of the bubbles along with the noise of the propellers would repel fish and prevent their passage beyond the bubble barrier.

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“I applaud the innovative solutions these finalists presented today, and congratulate Edem Tsikata for winning the challenge,” said Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. “Blocking Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes is critical, and Michigan can’t afford to wait any longer.”

Left, Edem Tsikata of Boston, Massachusetts accepts the grand prize at the Carp Tank. To Tsikata’s right, Governor Rick Snyder, David Lodge, Jeff DeBoer, and Dr. Denice Shaw. Image Credit: State of Michigan.

Tsikata was selected from four finalists who presented their ideas to a panel of judges and a live audience of invasive carp researchers, fisheries managers, and venture capitalists. Tsikata plans to use his $200,000 award to invest in other projects and future challenges.

“It was thrilling to be associated with a project benefitting Michigan and the Great Lakes,” said Tsikata. “It’s gratifying to be able to contribute ideas that benefit the economy and ecology of this region even though I live in Boston.”

The Carp Tank competition was the culmination of the Great Lakes Invasive Carp Challenge, which invited innovators from around the world to develop methods to prevent invasive carp from entering the Great Lakes.

Judge’s included Governor Snyder; Dr. Denice Shaw, senior innovation advisor for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development; Jeff DeBoer, vice president and chief innovation officer at Sundberg-Ferar, Inc. and chairman of the Michigan Design Council; and Dr. David Lodge, an international expert on invasive species and director of Cornell University’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future.

Judges assessed each proposal based on its potential effectiveness, feasibility, environmental and human impacts, and level of innovation.

Second, third, and fourth place prizes were awarded, as well. These designs were: a chlorinated lock system, a flow velocity barrier, and a digital recognition and diversion technology, respectively.

To learn more about Michigan’s efforts to Block Asian carp, visit www.BlockAsianCarp.org.

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